Interview: Homesafe's Tyler Albertson and Ryan Rumchaks Talk "Nervous Reaction", Touring, and Merch
On September 3rd, 2021, Chicago pop-punk heroes Homesafe released "Nervous Reaction", their first full-length since 2018. The album is a nonstop rollercoaster ride, clocking in at just under 23 minutes long.
Longtime fans of Homesafe will find solace in the familiar lyrical content while new fans may be drawn to the heavier, more polished sound, but, regardless, this is a record that just about everyone can find something that they love about it. Earlier this month, I got the chance to chat with two members of the band, vocalist and bassist Tyler Albertson and vocalist and guitarist Ryan Rumchaks, about the LP, going back on tour, and more!
Jennifer Moglia: Thank you so much for sitting down with me today! Could you introduce yourselves to the readers?
Tyler Albertson: Hi! This is Tyler Albertson (25), vocals and bass, and Ryan Rumchaks (26), vocals and guitar (both he/him) from the band Homesafe from Chicago! Thanks for having us.
JM: Congratulations on the release of "Nervous Reaction!" I've really been enjoying the record since it came out. What has the general reaction been like from friends, family, fans, etc.?
Ryan Rumchaks: Thank you! It’s been amazing so far. We’re beyond happy with how the album came out. It was probably the most fun to record and we hope that fans can hear that when they listen.
I think family and friends are super happy we're putting out new music again. The support has been awesome and we're so grateful.
JM: You essentially released this as a surprise album, dropping one single "With You" and announcing the LP just two days before the full album would be out. What made you utilize this "surprise" approach with little to no pre-promo and quick turnaround?
TA: It's been so long since we have put out a proper full release, [it's been] over three years since our last record "ONE" came out. Between then and now there have only been a handful of singles here and there.
Since there was such a huge gap in time we really didn't see the point in making people wait another month or two after announcing a record. People just want new music so we gave it to them when we felt the time was finally right.
JM: What made you choose "With You" as the only song fans would hear from the album before the full LP would be released? Do you feel it represents the record well?
TA: "With You" is such an easy-going song. Anyone can relate to having that one person that makes you feel good no matter where you are.
We always have different vibes and flavors on our records, some happier and upbeat and some less so. I think "With You" just felt the best to get people stoked for the rest!
RR: I think it’s one of the most feel-good songs we’ve ever put out. It’s an easy listen that just gives you an all-around positive vibe.
It’s not that deep of a dive emotionally. You can just turn it on, forget whatever happened that day, and smile.
JM: What is your personal favorite song on the record, and more? Would love an individual answer from each member on this one!
RR: "With You."
TA: "Fade Out."
Emanuel Duran: "Old Soul."
Joe Colesby: "Locked Up & Away."
JM: As you mentioned before, this is your first full-length in almost three years, following up "ONE." What do you feel sets this album apart from "ONE", or even earlier work like "Evermore" or "Inside Your Head?" Was the process of making this LP different from previous processes?
RR: With each album we write and record, we try to outdo ourselves. We always want to push out the walls of what we do and who we are further and further every time.
I think this album has a lot less “fat”, if you will, than a lot of the songs on "ONE." The songs on "Nervous Reaction" just cut to the chase and get down to business, no bullshit.
That’s not to say our other albums are full of bullshit - we love every song we create. We’ll never put out a song that we don’t believe in.
That being said, the recording process of "Nervous Reaction" was different. The most major difference is that we recorded it far from home, in New Jersey at Barber Shop Studios.
It was our first experience recording a whole album out of state. It was an amazing feeling to be fully submerged in the process, we can’t wait to go back.
JM: I think the merch spread for this album is super unique, especially with the shorts and custom wristwatch. How did those more unusual merch items come to be? Do you have any "dream" merch items you'd like to make in the future?
TA: We want to start doing more than just shirts and hoodies. Bands and artists are becoming so much more innovative with their products, and I think throughout the years we've learned just how valuable things can become to people.
We're adapting to a "why not?" attitude with some of the things we want to sell. Hardly anyone is selling watches, so why not? They're cool, someone will buy it and think it's awesome and hold on to it hopefully forever.
We have some really cool stuff in the works, like handmade coffee mugs and custom coffee beans to pair. We want to get more innovative and creative, continuing to offer some really cool products to people.
Skate decks and hot sauce are on my radar right now. I just want to keep mixing it up and eventually get away with doing really wild items, like a Homesafe snuggie or something.
JM: You guys were fairly quiet during the past almost two years during the COVID-19 pandemic, so I can't imagine how good it feels to be back in full force. Is there anything you want to share about that time in isolation/quarantine? Did you discover anything, pick up any new hobbies, do anything exciting, etc.?
TA: We're not really a "social media band" as some might say. If we don't have much to promote, we aren't super active. We popped in and out to see how people were holding up, or to speak about things that we felt were important to say.
We all like to spend our time offline mostly. It does feel awesome to have stuff to promote again though, and like, be a band. (laughs)
I moved to Orlando last year and have been starting a bit of a new life, to say the least. Ryan bought a camper and is always camping now.
Not too many new hobbies, I think we all just honed in on our crafts a bit and tried to find new ways to stay creative. We're all just more "adult" than we were before COVID-19. (laughs)
JM: Your first tour back kicks off in November, hitting the road with Jail Socks and Arm's Length. What made this lineup specifically come together? What did you miss the most about touring? Are there any venues or cities you're looking forward to playing in particular? Any songs you're dying to play and hear the crowd sing back at you, new or old?
TA: Alex Martin hit us up about a year ago for a run with Jail Socks and we had no idea what the state of touring would be so we shelved the idea until we saw that things might be coming back. We knew that we had to get back on the road as soon as we possibly could and Alex was the first to hit us up about anything - we're super appreciative of them for that. It was always Jail Socks and us, and Arm's Length's team caught wind and asked if we'd be interested in having them on.
We miss everything about touring. I specifically miss driving from city to city, I love driving. Of course I miss playing the shows themselves too, there's no rush of endorphins much like it. I can't wait to see old friends, hopefully make some new ones too. It's been so long!
We can't wait to play Chicago at Subterranean of course! Also, the Masquerade (Purgatory) in Atlanta, Mr. Smalls in Pittsburgh...there are so many great venues that we're very familiar with, and a handful of new ones that I am just as excited to play! We can't wait to play new songs!
JM: I really appreciate you guys taking the time to do this with me! Is there anything else you want to add?
RR: Thank you for your time and for reading! Catch us on the road later this year with Jail Socks and Arm's Length!
TA: Make sure to stream "Nervous Reaction" wherever you listen to music!
Once again, huge thanks to Homesafe's Ryan Rumchaks and Tyler Albertson for their time and their answers. You can follow Tyler on Twitter @TBoney_ and Instagram @FatAlbertson_, and you can follow Ryan on Twitter and Instagram, both @RyanRumchaks.
What releases do you want to see us review next, and what artists do you want to see us talk to next? Let us know by tweeting us @StrawbSkiesBlog! You can also find us on Instagram and Facebook @StrawberrySkiesBlog, and listen to us on the radio every Thursday from 3:00-4:00 PM EST via WQAQ 98.1 FM, The Soundtrack of Quinnipiac University.